5. Los Angeles, California
Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema, the center of life for many cinema-loving Angelenos, was shuttered for renovations for 2018. But never one to disappoint fans, Tarantino let his love for movies escape onto the streets of L.A. throughout summer and fall, dressing block after block of West Hollywood and the area in period storefronts, murals, billboards, theater marquees, and vintage rides for his ode-to-1969 epic, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood—even filming inside Hollywood’s iconic Musso & Frank Grill, where movie stars have been sampling martinis and prime rib since 1919. The publicity over filming in the heart of “our beautiful city,” as West Hollywood’s Film Coordinator Eddie Robinson calls it, will hopefully not recede soon.
“West Hollywood is known as Creative City,” Robinson says. “It’s a welcoming home for creative professionals. We have benefits that support local creatives in their development, that address affordable housing and transportation, and for moviemakers that wish to film in the city there are benefits that can accommodate even the most limited production budgets.” He adds that these programs have been ongoing for years, and that the film office is used to lending a hand to productions big and small: “Filming in West Hollywood means working in a dense, urban environment, and we’re always happy to work with any production to help them get the shots they’re looking for.”
Indie films are addressed in the state budget signed by outgoing Governor Jerry Brown in summer 2018, with non-public production companies receiving an increase in tax credits along with films that hire labor locally while filming outside of L.A.’s 30-mile zone. Brown’s budget extends the state’s tax credits to 2025 and maintains the annual rate of $330 million, while adding in new harassment reporting directives and diversity bonuses. On the latter, it creates a pilot program called the Career Pathways Training Program for preparing Californians from underserved communities for careers in below-the-line craft occupations. Major productions that filmed in L.A. and were incentivized in the third quarter include Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the Kristen Stewart-as-Jean Seberg thriller Against All Enemies, and Netflix’s Sandra Bullock-starring thriller Bird Box.